Still Renting

Almost everyone has rented a home at some point in their life. Most people have no choice but to have to rent once they have finished school. Commonly debts are high and income is low. Most younger people are focused on just finding a good job and haven’t even thought of putting together a finance plan.

Whatever type a plan you put together, whether it’s a Continue reading

Be grateful for those who served

Be Grateful for Those Who Served

I know for most people it’s hard to imagine the feeling that an eighteen-year-old man or women may have, on that first moment that the strong, angry looking man – wearing a large brimmed hat – yells at them to get off the bus and to stand on a set of yellow painted foot prints on the pavement in Paris Island, South Carolina.

Why in the world would someone ever want to put themselves in this position? What has happened in that little space between someone’s ears Continue reading

What are you waiting for?

What Are You Waiting For?

In 2006 – 2007 we saw the highest housing prices and sales on record. Why with today’s housing prices  – still on average less than 65% of those homes values – and with today interest rates more than 2% less than during that time frame are most still not buying in today’s market.

Really – What Are You Waiting For?

Has our attitude towards home ownership diminished? Continue reading

Income Consistency

Income Consistency

I have often written about the different parts of the mortgage loan process and the components that are needed for a full approval. Yet, it’s been a while since I can remember focusing on just income. So, let’s all take a peek into the basics of qualifying income—Including you well-educated higher income earners, Continue reading

Coffee and Croissants

Coffee and Croissants

The sharp smell of coffee in the morning is a must for most of us to get ourselves started; throw in a pastry—croissant—and we have enough to seize the day. I know this is a common ritual because I witness these transactions in hundreds of bank statements every year. But these transactions only bring us down. Any specialist will tell you that this diet leaves you with a pile of sugar and a desire for more.

I am no nutritionist and I am not here to talk about your morning eating habits but rather to talk about the habits of your daily spending and how that matches up with the important parts of your overall financial position. In the past, Continue reading

Why Are You Buying With Cash

Why Are You Buying With Cash

I am baffled by the numbers that show that people are still purchasing homes with cash in today’s market. The numbers in Southwest Florida still continue to be that more than 62% of home purchases are made with cash. (stats are from Mid-Florida Regional MLS)

Now I want to start off by stating in my humbled opinion, that a person should never refinance their primary residence to max out cash to purchase another property. Always protect Continue reading

After the Storm

After the Storm

Each year our country gets hit by storms and occasionally we get hit by storms which are capable of causing serious damage and you will need to claim on your home owners insurance.

This has been one of those years, with Hurricane Irma causing damage from the tip of Florida to the far reaches of the northeastern USA and Hurricane Harvey attempting to drown Houston, most of Texas as well as many other neighboring states. Prior to this in the spring, tornados ripped across the Midwest.

No matter where you live you can talk about wildfires or crippling snow storms and other major weather events.

Most people have homeowner’s insurance, however Continue reading

Of Wind and Rain

Of Wind and Rain

I have experienced severe weather in New England as I grew up in New Hampshire. I have experience the cold, the raw bone chilling rains of the northeast and those winter Nor’easter storms that rip through an area and paralyze a city.

In an effort to find better weather I moved the family to Florida. I have lived in Florida nearly twenty years now and have experienced a handful of tropical storms. Some just brush by as a few rode over us.

Many people ask why do you think it’s better weather in Florida with all those tropical storms and it’s so hot down there. It’s not an easy answer. Continue reading

Hurricane Irma Advice

As Hurricane Irma approaches Florida families are strapping in for the nightmare roller coaster ride of their lives. With the Category 5 hurricane expected through the Florida Keys and a path which looks as though it will rake the entire west coast, things are looking ominous.

Before Hurricane Irma

We all have about 24 hours left to finalize preparations and make our properties as safe and secure as possible. Now is the time to clear up your yards and collect anything which could become a missile when this hits.

Roofing, building, construction materials and excess pieces of wood and nails used during preparations need to be brought inside and secured in a room away from your family.

Terrace furniture should be put in your pool or brought inside the property.

If you use gas bottles, make sure that they are turned off, disconnected and secured in a room away from the family.

Find time to place copies of all personal and financial paperwork online. Should your property be damaged or be flooded, you will still be able to access important information. This includes passports, driving licenses, ID’s, credit card and banking information.

If you can get through try and increase your credit limit as things could be a mess for several weeks. Withdraw sufficient cash to last you a week or so.

For many the main form of communication during and after Hurricane Irma will be cell phone and internet. Ensure that your devices are fully charged and the same with extra batteries if you have them.

We expect many telephone landlines to be down and recommend downloading, Skype, WhattsApp and or Zello all of which are free to download. If there is a decent signal, at least you will be able to stay in contact.

Once you have secured your family and your own property, help your neighbors. Many older residents will struggle with both the preparation and aftermath of the hurricane.

 

During Hurricane Irma

While the hurricane passes, find a secure place – a bathroom is ideal – and remain indoors. Wherever you choose to hole up ensure that you can get out. Rising waters could trap you if not prepared. Move all furniture and heavy items away from the room where you intend to stay and preferably place them in another room behind a closed door.

If the eye is due to pass directly overhead head remember that their will be a period of time where it will appear as though the hurricane has passed. This will be the eye of the storm and at this point you are only halfway through.

Take a few minutes to inspect your property and make secure anything which could become airborne. Then get back inside again and buckle up.

Depending on where Hurricane Irma tracks, you could be suffering hurricane force winds for up to 12 hours. During this time there will be a lot of noise, the temperature will probably fluctuate rapidly and the air pressure drop could be felt in your chest. There is also the risk of tornadoes.

Keep any required medication with you and administer as necessary.

Although you will not feel like it remember to drink plenty of water in order to remain hydrated and eat on a regular basis. Fruit and nuts will provide energy and nutrients. Stay away from alcohol. Children will need to be kept occupied. Coloring, drawing and board games will help distract them.

 

After Hurricane Irma

If you plan on using a generator once the storm has passed, ensure that there is plenty of ventilation as dangerous and toxic fumes will creep up on you before you know it. Ideally your generator should be placed outside of the home.

Check on your family and deal with minor injuries yourself. Unless a situation is life threatening do not call emergency services.

Make a tour of your property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse. Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street. Do not attempt to remove downed cables unless you are a professional who knows what you are doing.

Check with your neighbors, especially people who live alone or the elderly.

Make a tour of their property and immediately remove or secure any items which could cause injury through collapse.

Isolate electricity if there is any sign of damage to wiring in the property, outside of the property or in the street.

Text message family members to let them know you are OK. Try not to use phone lines as they will be either down or very busy.

 

Flooding

Tidal surge will add to the rainfall and this could cause extensive flooding in your area. Secure your belongings so they do not cause damage to property or impede emergency services.

Whenever possible try to remain dry. Should flood water get into the sewerage systems,bacteria can cause serious issues. If you need to go outside into flood water, rinse off and change your clothes once back inside.

 

Pets

Keep all pets either in a cage or on a leash before, during and after the storm. They will not understand what is occurring and their natural instinct could be to run. Keep them calm, watered and fed.

 

Insurance Claims

Make sure that you have video and or photographs of your entire property and belongings before Hurricane Irma hits. Being able to show documented proof of before and after will assist insurance companies and assessors. If you have receipts of items from clothing to household goods through to big ticket purchases, put them online so you have proof.

 

Looting

Several of the areas already hit by Hurricane Irma are now suffering from looters. Try to put some form of neighborhood watch in place with your neighbors to avoid this.

 

That’s all I can think of for now. Stay safe!

Marty

 

 

Balancing Your Total Scorecard

Balancing Your Total Scorecard

There are many factors that are needed for a full loan approval. It’s not that easy to say “Hey, I make over 100 grand a year, my credit score is in the high 700’s, why are you asking for all this stuff?”

In general, it’s easy to say the person with the 800-credit score, no debt and a large retirement income will be one of the simplest and fastest loans to approve. The system can easily throw a monkey wrench into the mix once a lender finds out the same person owns ten rental properties.

It’s not much different at Continue reading